Jewish passengers booted off Lufthansa flight in May are getting $20,000 payouts
By Jackie Hajdenberg,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
Nearly seven months after they were denied boarding in Frankfurt, a group of more than 100 Hasidic Lufthansa passengers are getting paid for their troubles.
The airline is paying each passenger $20,000 plus giving them $1,000 to reimburse them for expenses incurred during the May incident, according to Dan’s Deals, the discount travel website that first reported the incident at the time. After legal fees and some other expenses, each passenger will net approximately $17,400, the site is reporting.
Lufthansa would not confirm the dollar figures but told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that it is seeking to settle with each of the affected passengers, capping a series of conciliatory responses to the incident.
“Although we are not commenting on the details, we can confirm that Lufthansa endeavors to settle the claims with all of the passengers denied boarding on May 4th, 2022,” the company said in a statement.
That date was when airline agents in Frankfurt barred many Jewish travelers coming from New York City from boarding their connecting flight to Budapest, citing the fact that some of the passengers were not wearing masks, as was required at the time. But that rule was applied inconsistently, passengers said at the time, and a Lufthansa supervisor was caught on video speaking disparagingly about Jewish passengers as a group.
“It’s Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems,” the supervisor said on the video, which Dan’s Deals shared shortly after the incident.
Amid intense media coverage, Lufthansa publicly apologized, saying in a statement that the company “regrets the circumstances surrounding the decision to exclude the affected passengers from the flight.”
The company added, “What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have zero tolerance for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any type.”
In late July, Lufthansa announced the creation of a senior management role to combat discrimination and antisemitism, even as an independent investigation commissioned by the airline concluded that there was no evidence of institutional antisemitism that led to the incident.
And in September, the American Jewish Committee announced a new program to train Lufthansa employees how to identify and respond to antisemitism.
Many of the Jewish passengers bound for Budapest were headed there for an annual pilgrimage to visit the grave of Rabbi Yeshayah Steiner, a miracle-working rabbi who died in 1925.
Leonard Cohen’s 1973 Yom Kippur War concerts to be dramatized in TV series by ‘Shtisel’ writer
By Gabe Freidman,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA)
Leonard Cohen’s momentous trip to the Sinai Desert to perform for Israeli soldiers in the wake of the Yom Kippur War is being turned into a dramatized TV series.
“Who by Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai” will be written by Yehonatan Indursky, a co-creator of “Shtisel,” the landmark Israeli drama about an Orthodox family in Jerusalem, according to Variety, which reported the news on Monday.
The limited series, an adaptation of journalist Matti Friedman’s 2022 book of the same name, will film in Israel in 2024. It’s being co-produced by Keshet, the Israeli company that has also produced shows such as “Prisoners of War,” which was adapted for U.S. audiences as “Homeland.”
Cohen’s trip to the front lines of the 1973 war became a turning point in the way the folk troubadour incorporated his Jewishness into his songs—for instance, his 1974 album “New Skin for the Old Ceremony” featured “Who By Fire,” a song inspired by the Yom Kippur “Unataneh Tokef” prayer. Despite being internationally famous, Cohen slept in an army sleeping bag, ate army rations and performed a series of concerts for on-edge soldiers, who decades later told Friedman that they were moved by his support.
“In October 1973 the poet and singer Leonard Cohen—39 years old, famous, unhappy, and at a creative dead end—traveled to the Sinai desert and inserted himself into the chaos and blood of the Yom Kippur War,” the show’s press materials read. “Moving around the front with a guitar and a pick-up team of local musicians, Cohen dived headlong into a global crisis and met hundreds of fighting men and women at the worst moment of their lives. Cohen’s audience knew his songs might be the last thing they heard, and those who survived never forgot the experience.”